Holden loves and cares very deeply about Phoebe, his younger sister, and feels very protective towards her. He has a good deal of survivor's guilt because of his younger brother Allie's leukemia death, even though he had nothing to do with it. This makes Phoebe's well-being all the more important to him. Holden also simply gets a kick out of being with Phoebe: he likes her, and she understands him.
He takes a risk visiting her in his parents' apartment when he leaves Pencey for New York City. Through their conversation, we learn an important fact about Holden: his desire is to be the catcher in the rye. This is the person who stands at the edge of a cliff where children are playing and catches them before they can fall off the edge and get hurt. We find out through this story how deeply Holden cares about protecting the innocent and vulnerable.
Phoebe is important because Holden will confide in her. She also knows how to listen to what he says.
Phoebe plays an important role at the end of...
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